Business lessons from the football field

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are dedicated to Kristian’s tackle football team. As a defensive assistant and special teams coach I have a lot of influence with the 11,12, and 13 year olds that make up the team.

We are currently 1-6; and with only 1 regular season game left. Through all of this ‘adversity’ it has been difficult to keep the teams spirit high and I have learned many lessons that apply ‘off the field’ and in the business world.

1. Find some positive – while addressing the ‘learning opportunities’ it was also important to identify what worked and went right. This is not turn a blind eye to the bad, though when we spent too much time on the bad, it deflated the energy. It is that balance between confronting the bad and recognizing the good.

2. The (team) captain(s) seat should be earned not anointed – On our team, the team captains were often established if your parent was the coach…these seats should be earned by work ethic and respect not ‘seniority’ or who you know. The affect on the team for some one being a captain, yet not earning it, was a disaster. This is valuable particularly in a family business, like YOUTHpreneur.

3. Not all respond to the same management style – This past weekend I watched how different kids reacted to different forms of feedback. One of my personal challenges is that I am often too nice. For some I praised what they did right, and that seemed to work and raise their spirits…but for another that wasn’t working and every play he would be ‘hurt’. I then told him that he wasn’t hurt, to suck it up and get back in there and the response was awesome. He played the rest of the game, did great and had no ‘pains’ when it was all over.

4. Get you point across in simple sound bites – long wind about unimportant items was a disaster for our team, it literally blew out all fire. The team responded differently to simple objectives; team first, 100% individual effort and raptor pride….vs. why we chose to have practice on Tuesday and Thursday nights at 7 pm at this location and how our relationship with the groundskeeper is so valuable to us.

5. Setting people up for success -One of the challenges as a coaching staff was that we didn’t have a lot of technique to truly offer the team, specifically on the defensive side. This is not a knock on me or our DC, just that we were both good motivators, have good intentions, though neither of us truly had the technique to teach football instinct. As a leader, I know that I need to have people around me that can provide more than me, not less. Having a whole bunch of me’s, is not what is going to get things done.

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